On how you can help

On how you can help

Namaste from Goa, where I am currently on Day Three of my stay – I’m loving being back and I’m also enjoying weather which is approximately 30 degrees (C) warmer than in London. I mentioned last month that this was my snowy outlook in early January; well, fast forward a month or so and here’s my view today:

(Yes, I know that “cows on the beach” are something of a cliché in India, but I do think that the little calf is very cute).

I’m staying in a local guest house just behind the beach, and I’ve negotiated a deal with the Goan Portuguese owner that I will help him write copy for his forthcoming website in return for unlimited access to his wireless internet – so I’m currently holed up in a corner of his bar/restaurant area, typing away, feeling hot (because my laptop is plugged in where the fan normally resides) and ignoring the curious looks from passersby.

When I first sat down and booted up, I was surrounded by six waiters, all unabashedly staring at my screen and asking me why I wasn’t sunbathing (“You are on holiday, madam! Not working!”). After trying and failing to explain “blogging”, I reached for my Hindi dictionary and announced that I am a “patrakar” [journalist] which they seemed to get (“newspaper, yes?”) and now they’re leaving me to it, just popping over occasionally to ask if I’d like a fresh lime soda.

My post about Renuka, the little girl I sponsor here in Goa, received a huge amount of hits and comments, both on and offline, the most usual one being “can you tell me more about how I can sponsor a child?” . In response, I’d like to direct you to a couple of websites.

The first one is for the El Shaddai Child Rescue charity – this is a local Goan charity which I’ve supported for a good few years and which now has an option to sponsor a child. Just follow this link and you can see details of the children (both girls and boys) and filter them by age. I notice that the sponsorship model has changed a little since I signed up, so you can now opt to make a one off donation to a specific child too, or purchase a particular item (school books, a cow, a bicycle, care for an HIV+ child) through the “Gift a Smile” option.

Obviously, El Shaddai operates in India, a country very dear to my heart for many years, hence choosing to sponsor a child here. If you’d like to consider helping children in other countries, then I’d suggest you check out Plan, described on their website as:

“ … one of the largest child-centred community development organisations in the world, helping children and their families in 48 of the poorest countries to break the cycle of poverty”.

I raised over £300 for Plan’s “Because I Am a Girl” campaign last October and I’ve also blogged about their recently published book, so hands up – I’m a fan, and the only reason that I haven’t yet sponsored a child via Plan too is due to my current “sabbatical” – but I’ll be on board as soon as I’m working again. The link is here and you can choose the region in which you’d like to support a child – Asia, Africa, Latin America, etc, or allow Plan to choose for you dependent upon need.

Oh,  and – while I’m writing about Plan, there are some photos of the recent book launch event for “Because I Am a Girl” up here on their Flickr site, complete with one of the back of my head.

Mentioning heads – a gentleman has just walked by, balancing a tower of cushions on his head. I don’t think I’m in Kansas anymore, but I am going to quit now before the usual “this time of day” Indian power cut kicks in.

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3 thoughts on “On how you can help

  1. Hi, Cleo — You have inspired us to decide to sponsor a girl at Rainbow House, Jyoti. She is around Caroline’s age (a bit older, perhaps?) and we are happy to be able to help her. If you visit Rainbow House (which you surely will do on this trip, yes?) can you find her and tell her about us? And find out whether there is anything she would like, anything we could send her, clothes, English books, etc? Thank you for the inspiration!

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    1. Diane – I’m touched beyond words that you are sponsoring Jyoti and will email you to discuss further! I know it will mean such a lot to her and I’m now even happier that I’ve bought an inflatable globe to take on my next visit to Rainbow House, so that I can show her where the wonderful caring family who are her new sponsors live. Thank you so much — Cleo x

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